Delicate operation ensures boat's safe return
Amanda Farrell, Times Colonist
Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 While the rescue
of the Cat Sass crew after the boat capsized took 15 minutes, saving the catamaran
was a much longer process.
The boat, which turned over Sunday during the Swiftsure Lightship Classic race
, made a less-than-spectacular return to shore at the Port of Sidney Tuesday afternoon after a painstaking salvage
Murray MacKay, owner of Sidney-based Advanced Subsea Services, a diving
and ocean technology company, said his company's involvement began shortly after the distress
call. "Right away, we were communicating with the coast guard and got in touch with the race
officials for Swiftsure," he said.
MacKay and his crew worked with the coast guard and Swiftsure race officials as well as Marine
Assist International of Vancouver. A coast guard auxiliary vessel whisked the boat's crew to safety
within minutes of the 6:22 a.m. distress
Assist and Advanced Subsea got to work on the boat a couple of hours later.
The first step was to stabilize the Cat Sass so that it wouldn't drift too far out to sea. The Riptide, a utility boat from Sidney, secured a line on the catamaran
in order to prevent it from smashing into nearby rocks.
Mike MacKenzie of Marine Assist said it took six to seven hours for the Voyageur, Marine Assist's large offshore rescue
vessel, to tow the Cat Sass to the safety
of Becher Bay. The fact that the sails
, and cordage were still attached and dragging underwater like a giant jellyfish didn't help much.
MacKay's and MacKenzie's crews set to work on removing the catamaran's rigging
on Monday. The sails
and cordage had to be removed underwater by divers. The boat was righted using what MacKay called a "reverse flip" technique. A rope
was used to attach the side of the Cat Sass closest to the shore to the Voyager, and the side that faced the water
was tied to a tree on the shoreline.
The Voyager then slowly pulled away from the shore, and the leverage it generated flipped the catamaran right side up.
After the Cat Sass was righted and its rigging
secured, the boat was ready to be towed to Sidney.
Taken from the Victoria Times Colonist: Wednesday May 31, 2006